An easy and versatile homemade Vinegar Based BBQ Sauce. This recipe is inspired by barbecue in the Carolinas and great on low and slow pork and chicken. It’s tangy and delicious on smoked pork and chicken.
We love and respect all worlds of BBQ and various styles of BBQ sauces. For a rundown on different styles of sauces see this Guide to Regional BBQ Sauces.
Carolina BBQ Sauce
This barbecue sauce is inspired by Carolina style BBQ, and is easy to adapt to whatever you like. A Carolina style sauce is most commonly a simple and quick vinegar based BBQ Sauce that’s great on pulled pork and chicken. See below the recipe on how to embellish it to make it a mustard based sauce, which is another amazing Carolina gem.
When I think of Carolina style BBQ I think of whole hog smoking, ribs, and all things pork. Pork isn’t everything, but is a big influence among the greatest pit masters throughout the region. Because of the acidity, we find this vinegar based style of sauce to be a great pairing for BBQ and wine or to adapt with a little bit of fruit jam.
How to make a Vinegar Based BBQ Sauce
This style of sauce comes together fast and easy.
- Simply combine ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir until sugar and spices all dissolve. Bring to a low simmer and cook 10-15 minutes, then turn off the heat.
- Strain the sauce into a bowl to remove the chili pepper flakes and peppercorns. Then, when cool, place BBQ sauce into a jar with a tight sealing lid. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.
- See notes to jazz up the recipe
Vinegar Based BBQ Sauce Recipe
Vinegar Based BBQ Sauce (Carolina Style)
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup hot sauce, (we err towards a savory style hot sauce, like Valentina)
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons whole peppercorn
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon red chili pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir until sugar and spices all dissolve. Bring to a low simmer and cook 10-15 minutes, then turn off the heat.
- Strain the sauce into a bowl to remove the chili pepper flakes and peppercorns (and discard the pepper flakes and peppercorns). Then, when cool, place BBQ sauce into a jar with a tight sealing lid. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.
Mustard Based BBQ SauceIngredients:
- 2 Cups Vinegar Based Sauce (from above)
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- ¼ cup Dijon mustard (I find yellow mustard a touch acidic)
Want More BBQ Sauce Recipes?
- Easy KC (Kansas City Style) BBQ Sauce
- Pinot Noir BBQ Sauce
- Spicy Mango Jalapeño BBQ Sauce (no sugar added)
- Cherry Chipotle BBQ Glaze (great for chicken)
And for a rundown on different styles of BBQ sauces, check out this post.
*This recipe for Vinegar Based BBQ Sauce was originally published in 2014 on this post, and updated with photos for this post.
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